Tamaqua coach Joe Berezwick had a curveball thrown his way just prior to Friday night's game against Pine Grove.
His senior leader Kayla Hope (10.9 ppg.) was a last minute scratch due to some knee issues and would not be able to compete. The news before the game was not good, but the result of the game was surprisingly great as the Raiders took down Pine Grove, 49-32, for the Schuylkill League Division I win.
Pine Grove also had some injuries of their own with their best player Becky Dimon sitting out of action as well. With impact players out for each squad one would imagine the Raiders and Cardinals were going to struggle offensively. However, it turned out only one group would struggle, and due to Tamaqua's fierce man-to-man pressure throughout the night, that group was Pine Grove.
"The defense was there all night long for us," said Berezwick. "I'm proud of the way the girls fought through the adversity of not having one of our best defenders out there in Kayla (Hope). It was just a good overall win for our ball club."
The big difference in the ball game came in the third quarter. Tamaqua, which held a 10-point lead at half only let the Cardinals score six points in the third and built its lead from 30-20 to 42-26 at the end of three.
"We just didn't come to play tonight and they did," said Pine Grove coach Chris George. "We tried going with the positive approach at the half telling the ladies we were only down 10 even with our poor play. They just kept attacking though, and the Streisels were just amazing tonight. Every time you thought they might take their foot off the gas pedal they just punched it harder."
The Stresiel sisters definitely had the pedal to the metal throughout the ball game with Maria torching the Cardinals for 25 points constantly getting into the middle of the Pine Grove defense. Christine got her buckets from the outside and on two occasions made tough step-back jumpers that are rarely seen at the girls high school level.
"Maria has been steady all year for us," said Berezwick. "She just did a super job of taking the ball to the basket tonight and Christine stepping up for us recently has been key. Christine was the sixth person coming off the bench for us last year and this season she is being counted on to score. She's had her struggles early on, but she's a great shooter and is now showing it."
With the win the Lady Raiders now have accumulated 10 wins, which is one victory away from the all important win number 11 that will qualify Tamaqua for the post-season.
"This was a great bounce back game for us after a tough loss to Blue Mountain," said Berezwick. "Pine Grove is a solid group and these are the kind-of games we have to win to prepare ourselves for the playoffs. I'm happy about the win and I'll be even happier when we get another one."
Amanda Solt was also in double figures for Tamaqua scoring 10 points.
For Pine Grove Becky Evans was the lone scorer in double-figures coming away with 10.
Smith 2-0-0-4, Sampson 3-0-0-6, Thompson 1-0-0-2, Evans 4-2-4-10, S. Zimmerman 1-0-0-2, Geiger 0-0-0-0, Bertasavage 4-0-0-8, Stoner 0-0-0-0, Lengel 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 14-2-4-32.
Demetriades 1-0-0-2, Trainer 0-0-0-0, Kabilko 0-0-2-0, M. Streisel 11-3-5-25, C. Streisel 6-0-1-12, Valasek 0-0-0-0, A. Solt 3-4-4-10. TOTALS: 21-7-12-49.
Pine Grove 10 10 6 6 - 32
Tamaqua 16 14 12 7 - 49